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Portland police adopt revolutionary new policy regarding mentally ill suspects — just back off

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The Portland Police Bureau has adopted a policy of deescalation when dealing with encounters with people who exhibit “characteristics” consistent with mental illness, The Oregonian reports.

According to the new policy, police “are not expected to diagnose mental or emotional conditions, but are expected to recognize behaviors that are indicative of persons affected by mental illness or in crisis, with a special emphasis on those that suggest potential violence and/or danger.”

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If officers judge that the person is suffering from a mental illness or is in an acute state of crisis, instead of confronting them, they are strongly encouraged to disengage and reevaluate the situation with the assistance of a supervisor or a member of the Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team (ECIT).

“Non-engagement or disengagement are tactics that can be used if the member determines that contact or continued contact with the person will result in an undue safety risk to the person, the public and/or members,” the new policy states.

“A police report will be written documenting the following: details of the call; reasons for non-engagement or disengagement; actions taken to deescalate the situation; actions taken to promote safety; follow up plans and referrals made, and whether the address is flagged” in a database containing the names of people who have previously had mental episodes.

The database will purged after 10 years if the individual has no further contact with the police.

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The new policy comes on the heels of a number of incidents nationwide in which individuals who were clearly manifesting signs of mental illness were shot and killed by officers who lacked the training or guidelines required to deal with people in crisis.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump’s ‘indefensible’ comments just made it ‘much much harder’ for GOP to win in 2020: Ex-RNC Chair

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President Donald Trump's latest anti-Semitic trope is going to make it "much much harder" for Republicans to hold control of the White House in 2020, the former chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC) explained on MSNBC on Tuesday.

Michael Steele was interviewed by MSNBC's Chris Matthews on "Hardball."

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Washington Post editorial board calls Trump too cowardly to pass background checks in scathing editorial

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